Buying holiday gifts for loved ones isn’t always easy, especially when you’re buying for sober folks. Have you noticed how many online gift lists include alcohol or accessories (like flasks, glasses, and bottle-openers) or “hilarious” drug references? If you find yourself stressing about what to get for someone who doesn’t drink or use anymore, you’re not alone. And that’s true even if they’ve been sober for a while. Maybe you knocked it out of the park in their first year by buying them a swanky new coffee set, but this year you’re lost for ideas.
Don’t worry—the Workit team has you covered! We’ve curated a list of thoughtful gift ideas for loved ones in recovery from alcohol or substance use disorder. This is NOT a sponsored list, and we don’t receive any commission or affiliate benefits from these links.
A donation or cause-related purchase can be a touching and meaningful gift. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Local harm reduction organizations.
- Recovery Community Organizations, like Unity Recovery who provide free recovery services.
- Recovery non-profits, like the Herren Project, which provides resources, support, and treatment scholarships.
- A non-recovery cause that is close to the recipient’s heart. Try using Charity Navigator to find the right charity for your loved one’s gift.
Affirmation decks are a helpful way to build esteem, build confidence, and channel inner strength. These affirmations are inspiring (and sometimes pretty sassy) without being cheesy or cloying, and they stay away from overt religion, so they’re very inclusive. Bonus: several of them have beautiful designs! These decks would be a great gift for anyone trying to be more mindful and positive in their recovery:
- Recovery Affirmation Cards
- Shine On: Empowering Affirmations for Extraordinary Women
- Knock Knock Spiritual AF Deck
- Daily Affirmations for Black Women
- A Year of Self-Care: Daily Practices and Inspiration for Caring for Yourself
Many folks in recovery find ourselves becoming involved in recovery activism and advocacy roles. Whether that’s supporting advocacy organizations like Faces & Voices of Recovery, taking part in I Am Not Anonymous, or wearing your activism. If your loved one is an activist in recovery, here a few ideas for helping them display that passion:
- Naloxone Saves Lives pin: We’re always inspired by the harm reduction-based positive messages in Claire Zagorski’s Etsy shop, and proceeds go to support at-risk communities in Austin, Texas.
- You can talk to me about drugs. No Judgment. No Stigma pin
- Harm Reduction Saves Lives tote
- Harm Reduction Saved My Life mug
- Support Not Stigma print
- I Carry Naloxone sticker
- Harm Reduction definition shirt
Mindfulness and relaxation gifts
A great—some might say a very necessary—skill for folks in recovery is that of mindfulness. It allows a person can turn their racing brain into a center of quiet, even during turmoil. Here are some popular gifts to help your loved ones promote mindfulness and a sense of relaxation in recovery.
- Books: If addiction is about escaping our thoughts, meditation is about turning to face them. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s classic “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” is a clear and practical introduction to the ways meditation can change how we respond to the world around us.
- Journal: Another great gift is tools to journal, like a nice notebook, a 5 Minute Gratitude Journal, or a Daily Gratitude book.
- Fidget gifts: Many folks in recovery have extra energy and may feel uncomfortable in meetings. A fidget tool or stim toy can be surprisingly helpful and can also support folks with co-occurring disorders, like anxiety, autism, or ADHD, with focus and mood regulation. There is a whole range of fidget and stim tools nowadays!
- Yoga: The practice of yoga can improve physical wellness along with promoting mindfulness and relaxation. You could gift your loved one sessions at a yoga class, a subscription to online yoga classes, or a yoga mat and bands.
- Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy can help some people to destress and focus. You could get them a diffuser or convenient rollers.
Many folks in recovery love to read Quit Lit or inspiring stories of people who have overcome challenges. Here is a list of inspirational books that folks in recovery LOVE:
- The Weight of Air: A Story of the Lies about Addiction and the Truth about Recovery by David Poses is a dark, witty, and critically honest story of recovery.
- Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington is a book for people interested in sobriety that asks the question, “Would life be better without alcohol?”
- We Are the Luckiest by Laura McKowen. This is a book about the gifts of finding sobriety.
- Quit Like A Woman by Holly Whitaker is a book about feminism and how quitting alcohol is an act of challenging the alcohol industry.
- The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray is a popular memoir about the joys of sobriety.
- 12 Essential Insights for Emotional Sobriety by Allen Berger, is exactly that: helpful insights into the internal work required in recovery.
Crafts and activities
When we enter recovery, many of us suddenly have a lot of time on our hands. If your loved one is in the same boat, a craft kit or an activity that fits their interests can be a great way to keep them occupied and entertained while boosting their confidence. There are a million other great options, but here are just a few:
- A LEGO kit: The options range from affordable stocking stuffers to large, extravagant sets that relate to diverse interests.
- A diamond painting kit: These kits are like complex mosaics of tiny, tiny gems, and come for beginners, intermediate, and experts.
- A pretty terrarium kit: There is some evidence that having plants indoors can support mental health.
- A board or card game: We’re in the middle of a game renaissance! You could get them:
- a simple card game like Take 5 or Fluxx
- a cooperative game like 5 Minute Dungeon, Forbidden Desert, or Horrified
- a funny and sassy game like Throw Throw Burrito or Moose Master
- a modern classic like Ticket to Ride or Settlers of Catan
- a long, immersive campaign game like Gloomhaven or Sleeping Gods
- Tickets to an experience, especially if it’s something you can do together. This could be a trip to the zoo, museum, laser tag, roller skating, botanical garden, concert, or movie, among many others.
Visual recovery-related gifts can serve as a helpful reminder and motivation of why we’re in recovery. When we’re having a tough day, it can be especially inspiring to see encouragement to push through our challenges.
Apparel & accessories gifts
So many people fear that they’ll have to be boring and serious if they stop drinking or using. Goofy t-shirts, hoodies, and hats like these defy those stereotypes and help us celebrate recovery without being too serious. (Note: these gifts are best when you know that your loved one is open with others about being in recovery.)
- The Only Coke I Do is Diet t-shirt
- Sober AF sweatshirt
- Sober Gangster t-shirt
- Sober Is Sexy, NO, and Addicted to Love hats
- Smart, Sexy, Sober, Savage t-shirt
- Grateful hat
- Gratitude tote
- Beaded Wellbriety jewelry
Sober drink gift ideas
Believe it or not, folks in recovery can still indulge in fancy drinks without risking their recovery. The alcohol-free market is huge right now. Here’s a selection of our favorite alcohol-free drinks and zero-proof mixers.
- Sunwink Mocktail Tonic
- Alena Botanica sells drink sets, holiday boxes, glassware, and alcohol-free mixers, bitters, and tonics.
- Wilderton Botanical sample sets
- Get Gruvi Nosecco
- Curious Elixirs are non-alcoholic cocktails infused with adaptogens that taste great and help you unwind.
- French press with coffee or an electric kettle with fun teas.
- Soda Stream machine to make fun sparkling waters at home.
- A subscription to Raising the Bar.
- A mocktail recipe book.